Alycia Christine

Vivid Fiction, Epic Photography

Category: Photography (Page 1 of 7)

The SCRAWLS Fiction Diary: A Strange Bit of Home

I love the contrast between the rough, gray bark of this tree and the soft yellow of its neighboring field of wildflowers. The photograph was shot north of College Station, Texas, in March 2017. Please tap on the image to see more.

Last week, I began something I call the SCRAWLS Fiction Diary. As its name implies, this is meant to be a public diary of my fiction and artwork as I create all of it. You’ll see new scenes, rich characters, and, of course, epic world-building.

Today’s post comes from my in-progress book Fireforger, which is the third book in the Sylvan Cycle series. This scene is from the main character Katja’s perspective and helps to set the mood, not only for the first chapter, but for the book as a whole.

~

Katja Kevrosa Escari knelt on a pile of furs with the meager contents of her rucksack spread out on top of the stone altar before her. A leather scrap from her brother Kayten’s rucksack, her sister Keepha’s small lytzahn dagger, her Feliconas Clan signet crest, and her brother Kumos’s tanning kit complete with a fleshing knife and needles were all that she had left of her family.

She gazed up at the darkness of the damp dungeon around her—noting that the tatters of Zahra’s Moon Moss were finally beginning to grow back in the places where Daeryn had ripped them from the stone walls. The vegetation’s soft glow reflected in the few salty puddles still left after Castle Summersted’s dungeons had been drained of sea water and cast green light on the Felis runes of the altar in front of Katja. The tawny werecat leaned forward and rubbed her scared right paw across the carved symbols of her clan’s language, smiling through the steady stream of her tears. Here, in this place so unlike anything of home, she had found some of the most powerful reminders of her dead family.

“I thought I might find you here,” a male’s gentle voice said behind her. Felan placed gentle paws around her shoulders. The little werecat gripped the black werewolf’s paws as tears slid down both of their cheeks. Today marked the first anniversary of the Feliconas Clan Massacre and the beginning of the Third War of Ages.

~

I hope you enjoyed the reading! As I mentioned last week, my goal is not necessarily to bring you finished writing, but to show you the rough stuff as well. After all, showing you some of the behind-the-scenes scaffolding that I use to build my fiction worlds allows you to truly walk the creative writing journey with me through all of its ups and downs. Please email me your thoughts!

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

The SCRAWLS fiction diary is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fantasy fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

A Marathon of Perspectives

Thank you to those who were kind enough to join me for the Skinshifter and Dreamdrifter Reading Marathons! I hope you enjoyed all of the games, quotes, prizes, and, of course, the daily photos. For those wanting more information on each of the 50 daily photos, I have them listed below in the order that they were shown during the marathon:

“Damsel Daintiness”
“Doorway to Wonderland”
“Living Sculpture”
“Thrush”
“Vitality”
“Flora”
“Window’s Many Faces”
“Twilight Mushrooms”
“Fanciful Feathers”
“Cheetah, Inverted”
“Metallic Pinwheels”
“Stone Straws”
“Lemur Looks”
“Peekaboo”
“Pansy Passion”
“The Pollinator”
“A Monarch for Granny”
“A Patch of Sky”
“Crying Monkey in Clock Faces”
“Marfa Yucca”
“Tuscan Sunrise”
“Windmill Promises: Old and New”
“Contrast”
“Afternoon Reflections”
“Dragon Warriors”
“Asteraceae Gilded”
“Agave Spikes in Autumn”
“Along the Tracks”
“Marbled Patterns”
“Winter Flower Silhouettes”
“Arched Elegance for Mom”
“Ask the Owl”
“Mountain Cloaked”
“Blue Jay Among Blossoms”
“Banana Leaf Lines”
“Blue Beneath”
“Weathered Hyperbolas”
“Misty Mountains”
“Split Sea Falls”
“Z Stripes”
“Yellow Gazer”
“The Lord God Loves Them All”
“Twig Window”
“Sun Dabbled Dune”
“Tulips Kindled”
“Texas Star for Bekah”
“Toucan Gaze”
“Moss Stream”
“Oryx”

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

This inspirational image is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Blooming Through Adversity

Featuring the “Blooming Through” photo.

Adversity is the part of life we would all rather avoid. Yet no matter how much we try, we can never run from adversity, nor can we hide from it. When difficulties arise and evil times befall us, the only thing we can do is work together to endure and overcome each obstacle as it appears. As we face each new challenge, we become stronger, wiser, bolder, and more mature. To be certain, none of us will make it out of this life alive. However, those brave souls who go out fighting with hope still wrapped within their fluttering hearts will have waged a far more victorious battle than those enslaved by fear. This is a reminder that the brightest blossoms do indeed bloom through adversity.

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

This inspirational image is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Your Broken Potential

When life leaves you broken, remember that this is not the end. As painful as it is, this struggle is the potential for a new beginning if you choose to make it such.

Alycia

~

This inspirational image is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Optimism

When life seems like one nothing more than a rusted disaster, remember that even the rusted places hold beauty if you are willing to see it.

Alycia

~

This inspirational image is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Broken Transmissions and ConDFW

"Sandhill Crane Flock" - Tap to enlarge or buy.

“Sandhill Crane Flock” – Tap to enlarge or buy.

As many of you know, life in our household has been quite an adventure for the better part of the past six months. In the process of relocating from West Texas to the Dallas area, my husband and I’ve endured a moving truck fire, a hard drive crash, a tornado scare, and, now, a car transmission repair. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my car apparently no longer wants to properly shift gears and she informed me of this fact in no uncertain terms while I was driving home from a photo shoot on Friday night. On the bright side, I managed to get her to a good repair shop without getting stranded in the side of the road.

On an even better note, I will have the funds to pay for the repairs. While we continue to look for full-time jobs, I’ve been blessed with some freelance work. I have two massive photo shoots during February to keep me busy and help make ends meet. Yay!

I also have the wonderful opportunity to attend ConDFW this weekend as a dealer. For those of you in the Dallas area who have not had a chance to get my books or artwork signed, this will be a great opportunity for you to do that as well as hang out with me during a first-rate book convention! In addition to the full dealer’s room, there will be tons of discussion panels and other fun happenings to satisfy all of your bookish, artsy, and nerdy habits. By the way, this particular con will host well-known authors Seanan McGuire and John Scalzi plus a lot of other incredible writers and creatives. I look forward to seeing everyone this St. Valentine’s weekend at the Hilton Dallas Lincoln Centre (5410 LBJ Freeway, Dallas, TX 75240)!

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better.

Alycia

~

The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) blog is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with vivid fiction, deep love, and epic art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

Books:
Skinshifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits | FREE STUFF

Artwork:
Birds | Bugs | Graphic Art | Flowers | Landscapes | Leaves | Mammals | Romance | Objects | MORE

Gilded Autumn Nostalgia

"Gilded Autumn" Photograph - Tap to Enlarge or Buy

“Gilded Autumn” Photograph – Tap to Enlarge or Buy

Autumn always arrives late in West Texas. Summer here begins in April and continues through early October. When the weather finally cools and trees begin to shed their leaves, there is little color change before they fall from their supporting branches. Only in the lonely cottonwood trees do we see a glorious transformation. For a handful of days in November, the leaves of the cottonwood trees turn from vibrant green to brilliant hues of gold. This rare fall treat is quite precious because there are few places in West Texas outside of the Davis Mountains that actually hold cottonwood trees in any abundance. The cooler temperatures and calmer winds created by the sheltering cliffs help these trees grow tall in an otherwise hostile environment. In summer, you might not even notice these quiet giants so dwarfed by the immense mountains surrounding them. Yet a look in the middle of November will reward the viewer with branches of gold highlighted against the deep shadows of the ridges. This perfect study in the contrast of colors is a reminder that even the most rugged places can beauty for those willing to seek it.

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better.

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with fine art, love, speculative fiction books, and tea suggestions for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

Writing Through the Hard Drive Apocalypse

ForlornBW-ACS4x6It has been a very nasty couple of weeks. Last week I changed hosting services for my website and accidentally deleted last Tuesday’s blog post in the process (which is why some of you may see it posted twice). Then on Thursday, my main external hard drive crashed without a full backup. This particular external hard drive holds all of the photos that I have taken in the past ten years as well as every job and school-related project I’ve ever done.

Because I am a somewhat fortunate individual, I still had copies of the past six month’s work saved on another hard drive as well as the backups for all of my archives from 2011 and older. Consequently the crash erased all of my photos taken from 2012 through the first part of 2015. Three solid years of my best photography is gone. A few of those photos are still available for purchase on my website, but the rest are lost.

Needless to say, I cried—a lot. I am extremely grateful to have all of my writing, all of my financial records, and all of the photo archives that I do, but the situation is still horrible. In a way, I feel like this summer’s moving truck fire has happened all over again. I hold out some hope that a data recovery service may be able to salvage some of what I lost, but any recovery may well cost us more than we can afford to spend.

I ask for your prayers and your patience since it may take me a while to add new photos to the blog once again. For now, I’m going back to the thing I know best and the thing that I find most comforting: writing.

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better.

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with fine art, love, speculative fiction books, and tea suggestions for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

The Moments When Pictures Really Are Worth a Thousand Words

Root_Lattice-4x6AC(This blog article has been re-posted due to a website glitch.) There are photographs that I have taken—some recent, some years ago—that inform the way I imagine a certain fiction scene. One of the great examples of this was a photo that I shot when I was a teenager while on vacation with my parents in the Smoky Mountains. The image in question was of a staircase which led up the side of a hill. However, this was no ordinary staircase. It was one which was literally built out of the roots of trees as they wove their way through the earth.

Unfortunately I do not have the photograph anymore, but the memory of that image directly informed my vision of how the architecture would look on Mount Sol’ece in the Sylvan Cycle and Sylvan Prelude book series. I wanted to incorporate the tree root staircase into the dryads’ world because it really fits with their culture. In my books, dryads don’t build their buildings so much as grow them. Consequently, most of their infrastructure and architecture is based on tree roots and tree branches woven around rock.

There is only on other photograph that I’ve ever shot that comes close to capturing the feeling of that original root staircase. That image is “Root Lattice”—a photo I took two years ago while journeying with my husband through the temperate rain forest near Ketchikan, Alaska. While I have used this image to help me imagine some of my dryads’ dwellings, it mainly informs the look of the mysterious trees makes that make their appearance in my Musings short story “What Tendrils Echo”. I hope this photo provides others with as much writing inspiration as it has me.

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with fine art, love, speculative fiction books, and tea suggestions for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

Job Hunting through the Misty Morning

"Penguin's Gaze" - Tap to enlarge or buy.

“Penguin’s Gaze” – Tap to enlarge or buy.

I woke up this morning to a veil of mist shrouding the world outside our apartment. Fall is officially here in North Texas and the air outside is a cool 60 degrees. We’ve lived in Dallas for three months now and I have yet to find a full-time job. I’ve had some good part time work here and there to help make ends meet, but nothing steady. Truthfully, I think some people have taken one look at my freelance photography price rates and fled screaming in the other direction. Honestly, I think my pricing is quite reasonable, but prizing for a freelance photography is always tricky. Freelancers don’t work eight hours a day and then get paid per hour. Instead we usually work a few paid hours on site during a certain project and then spend several more hours working without pay to process and tweak photos for our clients. Generally speaking, I spend one to two hours processing and retouching photos at my computer for every hour I spend shooting photos in the field. Consequently, if I asked a rate like $15-per-hour for a two-hour on-site job, I’d never be able to afford food again—not to mention covering expenses for a place to live, a work studio, electricity, running water, health insurance, worker’s insurance, equipment costs, or taxes. The higher cost per on-site hour and the per-photo buying rates help to offset these real-world costs, but it’s still a very frustrating thing to have to explain to new clients why $50/hour is, in fact, quite reasonable for the quality and quantity of work I provide. The world of freelance is a neat place to visit, but it’s often a very uncomfortable place to live. I hope for the day when I can return to a job with regular hours, people who actually appreciate what I do, and an annual salary that can keep us fed.

Ah well, at least I can use the downtime between job hunts and odd projects to write. November is National Novel Writing Month and so I am doing my best to write 50,000 words in 30 days like so many other wonderfully crazy people around the world. I’m using the challenge to finish writing the first draft of Sloop and Sword, the sequel to Thorn and Thistle. While I love the action taking place in the story, the writing itself is going quite slow. This is largely because my time is split between writing, resume submissions, photography processing, website updates, and a new marketing education course. The last item on that list seems quite promising. I’ve never been good at Facebook advertising in particular, so I decided that I should learn how to do it.

I’ve created quite a few changes to the AlyciaChristine.com website in response to what I’ve learned during the marketing course and I’m excited about the site’s new look. I hope you like the changes as well. I’m still tweaking some of the code, so don’t hesitate to tell me if you find an error. Later I may decide to upgrade the website to a full WordPress-coded site complete with new hosting so that I have more control over its overall function, but I don’t want to commit to that intensive of a design project until after I’ve cleared several of the other items off of my plate.

If you know of anyone in the Dallas area who needs a good writer, photographer, or graphic artist, please send them my way. If you want to follow my progress during NaNoWriMo, just go to the NaNoWriMo page in the Fan Corner section of my website. Thanks so much!

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with fine art, love, speculative fiction books, and tea suggestions for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

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